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My GACKTish Days

and some other days

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The Fine Line Between Journalism and Fan Articles
red rose
In the wake of YFCz breakup, something strange happened.
I never would've found out about it if it weren't for some of my friends telling me about it publicly (nihon_hamano and tenshin26100) and in private (I won't name you guys, just in case. ;3).  Thank you, guys!!

So, the translation post I made about the YFCz breakup announcement on NicoRadi was used by as a news source, without permission from me or ohgacktyoudidnt.

And then, Visual Kei Heaven used jpopsia's article as their news source.....

Thanks to nihon_hamano-chan's diligently urging them to give proper credits, now jpopasia credits ohgacktyoudidnt (See the REALLY fine, gray line at the bottom of the article? Took me a while to find that one. =w=), and VKH now credits jpopasia (...yeah).

Now, I'm really not trying to turn this into any major issue or anything like that, especially now that they've given due credits, but this really got me thinking, and I wanted to know what you all thought about it.

First of all:
They (or at least jpopasia) are using fan articles as their news sources??? If they did it with mine, I'm sure it wasn't the first time? And they did so without giving any credit UNTIL they were urged to do so by a reader (who had to argue with the other commentors who basically said jpopasia didn't need to  U__U* Bless her heart...)??
See, if this had happened to some other fan's article, maybe I would've just rolled my eyes and promptly forgotten about it, but when it happens to you, it's like..... WhhhhhhhhAT?  Because I know how long it took me to write that article.  30 minutes, or 40 minutes tops.  I just causally translated verbatim what Takumi was saying on a Nico recording as I listened to it, checked the content once, and that was that.  And I did it for the members of OGYD or people that visited OGYD, not for any legitimate (>.>) news sites.

I know that my translation was accurate, so I'm not worried about inaccurate information being spread.
Did they even know that?  But how could they?  Did they know I'm a professional translator?  I highly doubt it.  So... what if the translation was wrong???? @_@
I know that they also used YFCz HP and Takumi's blog as sources, but we all know that YFCz HP doesn't say much and Takumi wasn't exactly saying a whole lot in his blog before the Nico announcement, either.  And jpopaisa's article is pretty much the summary of my translation, right? 
What if I'd been a terrible translator and just made half the stuff up?  If I'd written "They had disagreements in terms of direction and decided they'd rather separate now while it's still fun" or something like that, would they have believe that? 
If they'd contacted me, not just to ask for permission but to also get some idea on the accuracy of the translation, it would've made much better sense. 

If nobody spoke up about it, would they have just acted like the news came from their own sources?  Wouldn't that be plagiarism?  I don't really know how the law works in these areas, so I'm just curious. 
Like I said, it's really not that I'm offended by or angry at them for using my article (even without my permission), but is it right for them to rip off information provided by fans instead of gathering information for themselves or at least getting permissions from the fans??

Oh, BTW, I did tweet jpopasia myself and asked them to credit OGYD, me, or preferably both.  They did NOT respond, but they did credit OGYD afterward, so maybe that was their response?  =/  I have NO idea.  =___=

It is plagiarism and its probably the reason why there are so many mistranslations and information floating around there. Especially since everyone else take from everyone else causing without credit and passing it as their own. therefore the wrong information spreads like wildfire with no sources, no credit, and some people believe it all because it came from either a well known and popular site for information. Thats why I am skeptical about information until i am sure by confirming it from a respectable person/site *cough*Val+amaia*cough*...

*sigh*... alas sites all over just search for information, whether or not it is right or wrong, just to further update their sites to get hits or popularity... or w/e... =/

I hardly ever go around news sites like these, so I had no idea. I knew some of them were pretty bad, but maybe most of them are bad, then? D:

*shakes head*

I dunno how bad it can be. but since sites take info from one or so sources... and then another site takes info from that site...and then an endless cycle continues... *sigh* who knows what is true and what is mistranslated.... =/

It's quite unfair and ridiculous that they used your translation as a source without crediting... or at all, for that matter. I can imagine that this has probably happened to other people who aren't even as good at translating as you are. :v

...I personally don't trust jpopasia as a news source because sometimes they post rumors as fact in their "news" articles. |:

A-ha!! Now the LJ and Twitter usernames are connected and I know who you are!! X'DDD

It must be pretty common, right? That's pretty pathetic, especially because of all the incorrect information they're spreading, like you said.

Man.... =___=

8D Yes, yes, it's verticai!

...It is. It's hard to trust any translated news sources lately when you don't know the source language at all... ; w; Makes me cautious, at least....

I've never really believed things unless it comes from the artist or band themselves, but this makes me now know to NEVER believe them if they're getting it from fans. While I trust your translations, I don't trust others, especially when there are tons of rumors going around all the time.

& I agree, if they are taking what you wrote without permission, it's plagiarism. I'm glad that you don't seem to be too angry about that, but that's what it is. & even though they did get it from the community, they should know better as to post it uncredited. I mean, who works at these sites, other fans?! People who work for a site with articles & such should know better than that.

Maybe I would be more upset if I had copyright on the article, like...if I'd actually translated it for money or something and their stealing my information would've cost me a decent amount of $?
I really just do it for fun and for the overseas fans, so I'm OK about it, BUT it still doesn't make it right if they do this on a regular basis.

I realize it's always a race for finding the latest info on artists, etc. for them, but AT LEAST ask for permissions and give credits, y'know? =/

Yeah, I totally understand that feeling you have. You do put a lot of time & effort into translating it for fans, though, even though you don't have to, so I think many people will think it's really messed up for them to do. But I understand why you're not upset about it. & you're right, if they did this, who knows how many articles they took from fans to post as 'news' that may not be accurate.

Exactly. But people are rude like that. I really find it rude how they didn't even bother to credit you. I mean, if it was the community itself & not you specifically, that's even okay, but they didn't even bother until they were told to? That's not cool. I think that people that work on a news/article site should know better about plagiarism.

I don't know if it's different in the US, but in Canada, even if you are not paid for something, you can still own copyright. You don't even have to register your copyrights with official agencies for them to be recognized in court. Of course, when it comes to the Internet, all the copyright law books go out the window and things are quite complicated, especially when having a complaint, but basically, for every text you write, you automatically own rights such that nobody can copy verbatim - in the case here, it's plagiarism, pure and simple. Shame on them! Just goes to show, you got to have eyes everywhere. Sorry you had to go through this! <3

Yes, exactly, it's this 'online' element of it that complicates and blurs everything. =/

I guess I was naive, and it sounds like stuff like this has been happening all the time. *sigh*

Thank you <3

Didn't thex also use some very badly translated rumour that G would be in Wolverine? Or was that another site?!
Anyway, I call it poor journalism. Reminds me of the Marvel news that made it to lots of "news"-sites and weirdly as it is, they all had the same mistake in it.

Oh, I don't know.... @_@ But I wouldn't be surprised one bit... orz

When they all have the same mistake in their articles, that really is suspect, isn't it??? X'DDDDD

Oh, it soooooooooooo isn't obvious. XDDD

Ugh. The audacity of people. Tell them the next time they want to use your translations they have to PAY YOU!

Now THAT would be nice~ ;D LOL

This is one reason why I don't go sharing my stuff around. Whoever submitted your translation to Jpop Asia was wrong to do that. Especially when they didn't even credit you. Amaiakuyume has even mentioned it several times that her translation is always stolen. In fact, her WHOLE BLOG was reposted on tumblr, without her permission. I guess this is the side effect of being on the internet where you can share just about everything. :S

You're right about that. =/
It's a crazy crazy world of plagiarism everywhere, it seems. orz

Poor Amaia, the things she puts up with!! >_<;;;

Welcome to the world of fan sites and their sources ^^;;;
I think amaia went through something like this when her translation of G's lyrics went uncredited on that site, and I think the problem has been somewhat fixed, but that doesn't mean it won't happen again on some other site...
There's a certain kind of mentality and structure to how these fan sites work, and looks you've stumbled upon a few aspects of it all.

From my vague memory, I don't believe the English-speaking fandom was as big or as diverse as it is now. Not just Gackt fandom, but the Japanese rock scene in general. The growth of the internet changed that significantly, and over the years more and more fan sites started popping up for each artist or the music scene as a whole, trying to gather as much information as possible.
Back then there was barely anything to go by for accuracy, so you kind of took whatever you could find and worked with it.
In many ways, I think that old style and habit of finding sources has carried over today. It's so easy to find information on anything, I think people start to get lazy and just assume it's true, and that goes especially for the big fan sites.

It's funny, but you can tell by the way a site is run how it reflects on the person/team working behind the scenes. I think sites generally fall into two categories - those that aim to be popular, and those that are created to truly cater to a fandom (I would like to think my site falls here LOL).
Places like JPopAsia, TokyoHive, musicjapan+, etc. tend to just try to find the latest news on an artist/band and get it out to their viewers ASAP. It doesn't matter where the news comes from or how badly they translate it themselves - as long as it's somewhat factual and can be confirmed by fans as true, then they're in the clear. It's all about the ego boost in the end, and they think they can take whatever they want because they are a well-known entity.

In your case, I think you're a big enough name in the fandom that whoever handles the Gackt news knows that you're info is pretty accurate and just copy & pastes the info while paraphrasing your wording. The whole source crediting is probably something that doesn't cross their minds, because the internet is free and they think they can write about just anything.
Plagiarism is a very tough issue to police on the Internet, so I don't know if anyone would be in trouble for doing so. I know I would be cautious of a big-named site like that using fan translations for their sources, but most fans are too trusting to think otherwise.

It's a very complicated issue, in the end. I mean you could run around in circles on this and get nowhere if the other party isn't willing to compromise or see the issue... I think the only thing you can hope for is that fans will be smart enough to know where to go for information, understand what is truth or not, and just be smart about the way they handle sources.

I hope this makes sense... I felt a bit scattered while writing xD;
And if you ever have issues with me using you as a source on summaries/articles/etc. for my fan site, don't hesitate to tell meeeeee ♥

Wow.................. So concise and beautiful explanation~~~~~~~ ;0;

No, that totally makes sense. Thanks for telling me more about how they work and how stuff like this happens all the time.
Like I said, I really don't go around news sites and read their articles, so I didn't know that's really how a lot of news sites work! :/

See, it's not so much that I thought fans can be protected from their articles getting stolen by law, but it's more like, if we all become more aware of how lazy they are about collecting info or checking for accuracy, we'll slowly start staying away from these non-trustworthy sites. One can only hope, right? ....Or not? :'D

Oh, I don't mind nonprofit fan sites using my posts, etc. as long they're credited! And I have absolutely no worries about the way you handle them. =^^=

Thank you so much, JoJo, this really helped! ;D

Sadly, this doesn't surprise me at all. I have seen loads of examples of bad journalism on these kinds of news sites; not only in the music scene, but elsewhere as well. They just post whatever seems interesting or attracts readers without any care for anything else >.>

I'm beginning to think I was putting a bit too much faith in these news organizations...... ^^;;;;

I think I mentioned this on twitter, but the reason they suck so hard is that they have very few paid/professional staff. Their writers are simply fans, and usually quite young ones, who earn "points" on the site for writing articles. There doesn't appear to be much rules or enforcement or quality checking, so of course rampant stealing ensues. Basically the people at the top want the illusion of a proper news site without paying for it, and the writers just want internet fame for the most part.

Like people have mentioned above, a similar site lifted pretty much every translation I did for the RE:BORN album (and only left the rest alone because they nicked then from other places like Senshi Gakuen), and there's no way to get your stuff deleted either :( I signed up myself to make sure the translations there were at least up to date and credited, but then I just gave up after a while. SMH.

Oh, I missed your tweets!

Yeah, I've heard of these 'points' systems, but didn't know JpopAsia and VKH use them, too...
I mean... Ewwwwwww... >.>
So much shadiness... =3=;;;

Oh, but wait, when you signed up, did they actually credit the sources, or did you just give up on them doing that?

The site in question let all members edit lyric posts, so I added credit myself.

OH REALLY....... Wow.... @_@;;;;;;;

Well how to put this?.....they have made a fool out of themselves. x_X Since I went to highschool with every step of job training, working at avious places as part-timer and starting to help out with fade promotion as StreetTeamer, I have figured out that in the end we are all people cooking with water. My strong belief into professionals and proffesionality has been slowly replaced why a very calm and clear look onto reality. So looking at this it makes me sigh as I find another source for information being provided by a bunch of people acting like amateurs, which PLEASE NOTE! is no offense at this point at all. It's just used in the sense of: this could have been done way way better, it wasn't and it's a bit of a shame but well *shrugs*.

To tell the truth: Thinking that professionls know what they are doing is an illusion people have to learn to deal with. They (or we) also often have to simply look professional while we are insecure and unsure at times, because this is our job. And well, there are people who are better at it and btw. also know quite a bunchand then there are people who are worse at it. The difference sometimes is smaler than we an imagine!

That we get confronted with it here often in fandom isn't bad in my eyes, because it's a fantastic lesson. It shows us how we long for safety and for things to rely on. And it can teach us that it's never wrong to handle things carefully as long as we didn't research and experienced things ourself. In this times of information-floods and decreasing discipline (because I'm sure the quality level hasn't changed as whole this much) we are asked to stand up onto our own feet and simply be prepared to catch ourselves any time when we rely onto something and figure out it's not that certain as we thought. Because life is a flow we have to stay awake, flexible and fast to go rom 0 to 100, right?! ^__~

Enough of random thinging over the topic now! I can understand you are noyed, because you are quite some accurate, disciplined and very proud woman, o-nee-san. Since they showed off their weakness to us in my opinion it's nothing to get annoyed over, since they don't deserve that anybody does waste their energy like that. It's great to pull ourselves together at such times and rather try investing energy into increasing the quality by pointing things out to them and evtl. pointing it out to readers like you did here. This is where our (and your) task ends.

Besides that: I think you can absolutely take it as compliment. And if they read your stuff then actually I'd not be surprised if somebody of them knows of your background (like how reliable you are and that you are a professional translator). They did act kind of childish here, but they have a good taste for chosing their "unprofessional" source.(in the sense of you beng fan and not officialy translating). ;)

Even if you kick me for this, I'm simply amused about the whole issue. XD I've become very relaxt regarding human mistakes with encountering G and the fandom. Very laid back, yes! X3 Excuse me if you please! + sorry for huge reply.

Haha, well, I'm really not upset, but yeah, a little bit annoyed by their lack of integrity, discipline, and structure, but not so much by the fact that they used mine. And yeah, I do take it as a bit of a compliment, although I really could do without a compliment like that. :P

But yes, I wanted to tell everybody about this issue so that they'll take whatever 'news' these sites put up with a lot of grain of salt. That's really basically what I wanted to accomplish, so I'm done. ^^

Unfortunately most of the big Jrock news sites are ran like this (or in similar ways) and they're all a waste of space - either stealing news without credit or making it out of nothing (I remember one site spent a few months making news posts out of GACKT's blogs and interviews without actually stating that's where they were from and they read like actual interviews with him)

The sites and magazines I've written for are unpaid jobs too, but they have a level of professionalism about them, at least. I wouldn't touch sites like this even if they did pay me >_

"(I remember one site spent a few months making news posts out of GACKT's blogs and interviews without actually stating that's where they were from and they read like actual interviews with him)"

You've got to be kidding me!!!! ROFLMHO

I'm glad you're writing for organizations with more integrity.
I guess I was naive as to how widespread this type of issue is in the J-rock community. =/

Yes, they'd take those stupid stories he'd tell sometimes and report them and it really looked like he'd spoken to them directly. You'd only know he hadn't if you knew the content of his blogs and TV interviews (and had half a brain to realise he wouldn't touch that website). Later on they did begin to say it was from his blogs.

A large part of the problem is that there is a gap for websites that will update foreign fans with the information. Even if you can speak Japanese, there's so many bands and sources that it's impossible to keep up so they are needed. They're just not executed well at all and there aren't enough people with the skills to do it.

Always stating your sources is something that you should have learned in high school when writing essays.

Edited at 2012-06-12 09:59 am (UTC)

I believe a lot of journalist for these sites are just fans, not professional. Not saying all, but I know someone who does it for one of them (not sure which one anymore, or how big) and does not know much Japanese.

If it's fans who are providing information (and many of them don't even know much Japanese), I guess we couldn't call them 'legitimate' news sites, could we?
I realize fans are often faster in obtaining the latest information, but this information can often be full of inaccuracies.

It's sad, but I guess it's just the way it is. =/

Wow, that's terrible D:

If they credited other sources originally, I'd say they were hoping to pass your work off as their own translation. Disgusting. They should have credited you personally, not just OGYD, too >:|

They really did make it sound like it's their own original article, didn't they? But really, what if I'd made some critical mistake in the translation? =___=

BTW, I sent you a DM via Twitter, Amy

The line is getting blurred between fanblogs and 'real' journalism, I see it everywhere, and it's very scary because as we know, a lot of blogs contain opinion, not fact, and disinformation if not outright lies and slander. It sometimes feels like a constant game of catch-up, once something's posted it lasts forever.

I was hoping you'd weigh in on this because I remember reading articles you linked to in the past regarding similar issues.

"a lot of blogs contain opinion, not fact, and disinformation if not outright lies and slander"

Oh, exactly! Fans are prone to biases. And you can never know who's behind any fan article (possibly a junior high school girl writing it during her school recess?). And a lot of these fans don't even know Japanese, so they must've gotten it from somewhere else other than the original source (artist) unless it was provided in English.

Yeah, it's endless and it seems to be only getting worse.

:| wow!
and some see these sites as carrying legit news :(

I'm hoping a lot of people will realize that they really aren't. =/

Wow ,just wow .
And they make it look legit too,wow

Sadly, this is probably common for a site like that. I've seen the site around but never really paid attention to it, and now realize it's not really a legit news site at all. :\ Glad your friends are looking out for you and that they finally gave some credit!

I know, I'd never paid much attention to these sites before, either. All I wanted to do here is to raise awareness, so my job is done. ^^

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